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Beating those January Blues


bmccarthy
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Do any of you find it difficult to get moving at this time of year. I've a violin to make for someone and I'm avoiding it, a kind of violin makers block I suppose. I'm doing everything else but starting this instrument. I know when I get started I'll fly ahead but getting started is the problem. I was talking to an artist friend today and she feels the exact same. Anyone else have this problem and do you have any tips to get moving? Looking forward to your comments, Brian.

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Anyone else have this problem and do you have any tips to get moving? Looking forward to your comments, Brian.

I occasionally get that way, but it is more common with repairs I didn't really want to do in the first place. I have to believe that dentists must feel this way often...

Oh well, such is life - I must remind myself that I have a reputation to maintain, and that someone is waiting for their violin, and then, just bite the bullet.

Wake up, shake of the lethergy, and go split that billet.

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Yes, less energy now in the short day period. I have periods where no work gets done in the workshop. I have a nice daytime job, but even there I feel the energy and focus isn't exactly up to what it can be. I do not excercise, but I know it would have helped.

I have had orders for many years now. I have started to do things I find interesting without having anybody waiting for it. Having fun with some of what you do is important. I use measurements as a fun tool to document working steps. And I spend a lot of time here on this site.

My next experiment is to see what happens when I take a violin neck and fingerboard off a violin and put on a Hardanger neck and fingerboard. What happens to the modes and how it sounds? The fiddle has strings on now as a violin and it will get the HF neck and Hardanger fiddle strings on, then it gets documented (as it does in each step, no strings, fb off, neck off, new neck, new neck with fb, new neck with the 9 pegs, then strings) and the top comes off and gets regraduated after playing it for a while to get used to it. Then it enters the data mining base as a violin and a hardanger fiddle, pre and post regraduation.

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I find a specially designed bright light source manufactured specifically to deal with s.a.d. very effective in these dark winter months. I basically have it illuminated for two hours near me at the recommended distance for a couple of hours and once I wake in the morning....after a few days use I suddenly realize I feel fine and it really works for me and my family...the light is diffused and not intrusive. Our one cost about £200..It was well worth it in terms of general happiness and enabling me to get more work done so I charged it to business expenses.

I didn't really expect it to work being a skeptic and a pessimist but it does work.

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That is exactly how I look at winter, too.

..........

I agree!...in my climate in January we have about 8 hours of 'daylight'...normally it is cloudy and wet and grey with no snow to brighten things up...normally if there is snow, the reflected light from that cheers folk up.. but we seldom have snow. It's a biological fact that a fair proportion of folk can get effected by dull light and my experience is that need not be the case if one illuminates ones environment in very simple ways..it is basically about stimulating the pineal gland behind the eyes to secrete the correct amounts of hormone like melatonin...Once that's done as you say winter is a great time to be in the workshop without distractions!

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I must say, that I haven't had a breather since I got back from my Christmas trip. Loads of repairs, set-ups, rehairs and lots of hustle and bustle around the shop...there's never a dull moment! I haven't had a chance to decide if I am motivated or not! I just do it; Its gotta get done.

However, besides being blindingly busy, I also feel extremely lucky to do what I do. Every job has its low periods, but you have to suck it up and push through them. Even a job as cool as a luthier, is not all milk and honey. Its real work...with deadlines, just like everything else in life.

I love how this work combines art, with wood working, with metal working, with acoustics, with engineering, with...(do I really need to go on?!) Knowing this, and being aware of all the problems people have in the world, we should be grateful to have the ones we have. We have the opportunity to make and repair instruments for people. In most cases, this is like a child or pet to them. We want to give them not just a superbly sounding functioning tool, but ultimately and heirloom that will be passed from musician to musician...

I would like to conclude with a quote from possibly one of the greatest minds of our time: "Git 'er dun!" :D

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A suggestion to get started:

I know when I don't want to practice my violin, if I do something like clean or change the strings with no intention to practice it sometimes gets me going.

If you approach it with no intention of actually begining, and maybe do it for a few days you might get started. An approach to building might be: one day clear off your bench....then the next day sharpen a tool...all things related to the task but without any intention of starting.....sounds crazy maybe, but see if anything happens. Sometimes it works for me. You could even try things like dancing on your cleaned off bench and saying "I'm not building anything so f*&^K off"....whatever you like...

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Do any of you find it difficult to get moving at this time of year. I've a violin to make for someone and I'm avoiding it, a kind of violin makers block I suppose. I'm doing everything else but starting this instrument. I know when I get started I'll fly ahead but getting started is the problem. I was talking to an artist friend today and she feels the exact same. Anyone else have this problem and do you have any tips to get moving? Looking forward to your comments, Brian.

Sydney January blues:

Opera+House+and+Harbour+Bridge+1.JPG

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AKA "seasonal affective disorder", or "SAD". Another reason to not live in the North! ;)

I live in the north.

I use ethyl alcohol to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you drink enough, you don't feel the cold, don't know if it's day or night, and don't know what month it is. You can also use it for making or thinning spirit varnish, burn it in your alcohol lamp, cook small animals for dinner, clean wounds after you realize you've hurt yourself on something sharp in the shop, etc.

Homer Simpson said it best when he said "Alcohol, it's the cause and cure of all my problems.":D

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After carefully reading all of your comments I've decided to move to either Sydney or Sao Paulo where I'm going to have an outdoor workshop in the sun, dance on my workbench and drink ethyl alcohol all day. Seriously though, some of your advice was very helpful, particularly the posts by ctviolin and richardz which hit the nail on the head for me. I suppose my problem isn't really depression, it's more procrastination and avoiding doing the things you're supposed to do. Like most people on this forum I work alone and sometimes, particularly this time of the year for some reason, I loose the momentum I usually have which can be very frustrating. The answer to Matthews question is yes I am being paid for this violin but funnily it isn't necessarily the motivating factor. Thanks for all your comments. Brian

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After carefully reading all of your comments I've decided to move to either Sydney or Sao Paulo where I'm going to have an outdoor workshop in the sun, dance on my workbench and drink ethyl alcohol all day. Seriously though, some of your advice was very helpful, particularly the posts by ctviolin and richardz which hit the nail on the head for me. I suppose my problem isn't really depression, it's more procrastination and avoiding doing the things you're supposed to do. Like most people on this forum I work alone and sometimes, particularly this time of the year for some reason, I loose the momentum I usually have which can be very frustrating. The answer to Matthews question is yes I am being paid for this violin but funnily it isn't necessarily the motivating factor. Thanks for all your comments. Brian

BCM: I'm so glad if it helped.

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After carefully reading all of your comments I've decided to move to either Sydney or Sao Paulo where I'm going to have an outdoor workshop in the sun, dance on my workbench and drink ethyl alcohol all day. Seriously though, some of your advice was very helpful, particularly the posts by ctviolin and richardz which hit the nail on the head for me. I suppose my problem isn't really depression, it's more procrastination and avoiding doing the things you're supposed to do. Like most people on this forum I work alone and sometimes, particularly this time of the year for some reason, I loose the momentum I usually have which can be very frustrating. The answer to Matthews question is yes I am being paid for this violin but funnily it isn't necessarily the motivating factor. Thanks for all your comments. Brian

Working alone can have it's problems, avoiding the work being one. You've only yourself to answer to, apart from a few irate customers waiting for their overdue instrument. Some days I'm very thankful that I work alone, other days I wish I could afford to employ someone, partly to help motivate and focus the mind.

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